Serendipity

It’s really strange and beautiful…these little things that keep happening, these little coincidences…I’ll learn a word in Spanish just accidently, then 15 minutes later in a totally different situation it’ll end up being a key word in a conversation…little bits of serendipity.

Por ejemplo, I had just wrote that post on my blog about my anarchist atheism, right? Well, last night, me, my friend Peggy, and my friend Terezia (who actually spent a year in Guatemala and a year in Mexico, so she speaks fluent Spanish…leaving me feeling awe-inspired, jealous, and inadequate all at once) decided to hang out at the house of their friends…one of whom is a teacher at my school. So they are two young, hip Guatemalans…and from 10pm to 4am we hung out at their house, while they all drank rum and cokes (me, just cokes with lime juice…since, of course, I don’t drink), and we talked in Spanish… and…serendipity…the discussion was about anarchism and about atheism! In Spanish, I actually had to hold my own trying to defend and explain my ideas…why I wasn’t just totally naive and stupid…why being anarchist is more than their stereotype of someone who wears all black, has dreadlocks, plays hack-sack (?), and juggles with fire sticks (?!)…and it was an incredibly fun night, that felt exactly like all of my favorite nights of staying up with friends having political conversations…and I just would pause periodically and be like…this is in Spanish!….this is in Spanish! And it felt like just another night with friends (although my talking was obviously slow and full of errors)! Just 5 weeks ago, I knew 100 words in Spanish…and I couldn’t say anything out loud…and now this…I not only could defend anarchism, I actually got them to acknowledge the beautiful and elegant philosophy that it is (much of this was framed in a debate between anarchism and communism…which they are more familiar with…and I tried to bring feminism into the equation as well…of course).

So, it was a great night…and it was a great way to say goodbye to my time here in Xela as I head for the mountains. And there’s something interesting about this, as well…

I can’t remember if I wrote this here…but for my graduation at the mountain school two weeks ago (they have a graduation every week for students who are leaving…where the students are asked to do something, sing, dance…etc. in Spanish) I did an activity of popular education which we do here in the states…this group brainstorming activitity that is meant to counter sexism and build consciousness about the difference between how men are raised and how women are raised…it’s called the act like a man/act like a lady boxes…anyway, I did this activity, facilitated it and explained it totally in Spanish…and it worked! And the two male teachers got kind of defensive…and one of them started arguing with me in Spanish…so I had to try to argue back in Spanish (very, very hard!). The women, however…at least most of them…loved it.

So, what I’ve been hearing is that teachers have actually been talking about my activity still these last two weeks…one of the women even did it with one of her students! Ooh, how flattering…cross-cultural solidarity and movement building in just a little way…so I really look forward to going back there and seeing those folks again.

See you in a week!!!

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-Dispersing Power by Raul Zibechi